E-Book Collection

Professor Attila’s Scrapbook

The professional strongman and gym owner known as “Professor Attila” was born in Karlshue, Germany on July 2, 1844. His birth name was Louis Durlacher. While still quite young, Durlacher witnessed a performance by the traveling strongman Felice Napoli and asked to become his apprentice. It was Napoli who taught the young German how to be a strongman and how to stage a strength act for maximum impact with the audience. By the time he was 19 (1863), Durlacher had changed his name to Attila and was appearing as a strongman on his own merits. For more than 20 years he played at the best theatrical houses in Europe and became friends with important and influential individuals throughout the Continent.

Read More

For Full Screen, click here http://archives.starkcenter.org/flipbooks/Professor_Attila_Scrapbook/

In viewing the scrapbook, you can enlarge any page by double-clicking on it. You can also turn to the next page either by clicking on the directional arrow at the bottom of the page or by putting your cursor at the edge of the page and holding down the left click button as you drag over the page. The digitization of the pages in Attila’s scrapbook was made possible by a grant from the Utopia Project, an outreach of the General Library System at The University of Texas at Austin. The images were done on a special scanner that allows the book to rest upward in an open position rather than having to be placed face-down and pressed flat to get a good image. We hope you enjoy the scrapbook. To discuss access to the Scrapbook housed in the the Stark Center archives, send research requests to info@starkcenter.org





A brief biography of Professor Attila:

The professional strongman and gym owner known as “Professor Attila” was born in Karlshue, Germany on July 2, 1844. His birth name was Louis Durlacher. While still quite young, Durlacher witnessed a performance by the traveling strongman Felice Napoli and asked to become his apprentice. It was Napoli who taught the young German how to be a strongman and how to stage a strength act for maximum impact with the audience. By the time he was 19 (1863), Durlacher had changed his name to Attila and was appearing as a strongman on his own merits. For more than 20 years he played at the best theatrical houses in Europe and became friends with important and influential individuals throughout the Continent. In approximately 1886, Attila opened a gymnasium in Brussels, Belgium, and it was there that he met his most famous protégé—Eugen Sandow. The two men began appearing together shortly after their first meeting in Brussels and toured nearly continuously until 1889 when they separated for a time and Sandow went to Italy. Attila moved to London that same year and opened a second gym. Sandow and Attila then renewed their partnership for a time, using London as their primary base of operations. By 1893, however, they were no longer partners and Sandow travelled to America where he was quickly hired by Florenz Ziegfeld and booked to appear at the Chicago World’s Fair. Attila also traveled to America that same year, but he went to appear as a witness in a lawsuit against Sandow. Unlike Sandow, who would return to England after his tour with Ziegfeld was completed, Attila decided to stay in America and opened a gym in New York City where he trained businessmen, strongmen, professional boxers, and many women. He ran the gym until his death on March 15, 1924. In an article about Attila entitled “Requiem for a Strongman: Reassessing the Career of Louis Attila,” (pdf) published in Iron Game History, Kim Beckwith and Jan Todd write: “Most people who remember Attila at all know him primarily as a moderately successful professional strongman who became Sandow’s mentor and trainer. But Attila’s historic legacy stretches far beyond the years he spent as Sandow’s eminence grise. The “Professor,” as he liked to be called in later years, was a major contributor to the European and American physical culture movements of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century and, during the course of his career, he: 1) was a pioneer in the use of weight training to help athletic performance; 2) was one of the first ‘personal trainers’ for the rich and famous; 3) was an influential supporter of equal opportunity for women in the gym; and 4) argued nearly a hundred years before the medical community came around to the same position that weight training would retard the process of aging. When considered in light of the times in which he lived, Attila’s achievements and open-mindedness – especially on the question of women’s training – are truly remarkable, and make this peripatetic figure worthy of canonization as a major innovator in the field of strength training.” (p. 42).

scrapbook

The Scrapbook:

Professor Attila’s scrapbook was purchased by Terry and Jan Todd from his son-in-law Sig Klein in 1987 along with a large oil painting of Attila, Attila’s medals, his engraved cane, and several other personal items. The five-inch-thick scrapbook is filled with dozens of articles about Attila’s performances as a strongman, his partnership with Sandow, his work at the gym in New York City, and advertisements for his acts. The book is bound in brown leather, is about 8 x 10 inches in size, and on the cover–in gold letters–it reads, “Attila’s Recensionen Album.” (“Recensionen” is a now archaic word meaning survey or review.) Although the interior flyleaf reads, “Press Opinions of Professor Attila from 1870-1890,” the book contains clippings from throughout Attila’s career and in several different languages.

The scrapbook is beautifully bound and expensively made, but the paper used for the pages is, unfortunately, highly brittle and acidic. The edges of most pages in the scrapbook have begun to crumble and because of this the profiles of no two pages in the scrapbook are exactly the same. Although most of the articles are still intact, portions of some articles have been lost due to the crumbling along the edges of the pages. However, every image presented in this digital version of the scrapbook contains all the text available on that page. It should also be noted that some pages are much larger than the size of a normal scrapbook page as Attila pasted in sheets of thin canvas holding entire pages of newspaper in several places that were then folded down to fit inside the book’s bindings.

Sample

Citation & Copyright Restrictions

Original web site content copyright ©2010 by the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports at The University of Texas at Austin. If you intend to quote extensive amounts of text, use other original content, or reproduce images from this site, please contact j.todd@mail.utexas.edu for permission.

Please cite this resource as: Louis Durlacher On-Line Scrapbook, H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture & Sports, The University of Texas at Austin. //www.starkcenter.org/books/attila-scrapbook/.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: If you wish to reproduce any image found in this book or on any other part of our website, please contact j.todd@mail.utexas.edu for permission. Please help support this and other digitization projects at the Stark Center.

Flip through this book online

Texas vs Oklahoma 1910 Football Program

No Bevo, no “burnt orange,”, and no “Hook ‘em.” No email, no cell phones, no 747s. The NCAA was barely five years old, the forward pass was a controversial rule change, and a touchdown was worth five points. The year was 1910 and these were just some of the conditions under which H.J. Lutcher Stark, UT football team manager at the age of only 22, cobbled together a season consisting of seven games.

Flip through this book online

Stark Football Letters

These letters are on loan to the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports from Walter Riedel, C.E.O. of the Stark Foundation in Orange, Texas, and an employee of the foundation for over 30 years. They came to him as a gift from Nelda Stark, Lutcher Stark’s widow.

Read More

No Bevo, no “burnt orange,”, and no “Hook ‘em.” No email, no cell phones, no 747s. The NCAA was barely five years old, the forward pass was a controversial rule change, and a touchdown was worth five points. The year was 1910 and these were just some of the conditions under which H.J. Lutcher Stark, UT football team manager at the age of only 22, cobbled together a season consisting of seven games.

Much of the communication between team managers was in the form of handwritten letters, ferried from Austin to places as far away as Boulder, Colorado, and back again. Presented here are scans of the letters that Stark wrote to other team managers during the process of setting up the schedule for the 1911 football season. In addition to hand-written letters, the collection is sprinkled with examples of the most current technology Stark had available–telegraphs. With the curt, abbreviated syntax emblematic of telegraph language, these dispatches illustrate the effort required to create a season’s schedule.

Taken as a whole, the collection evidences the issues and struggles involved in the establishment of a relatively “new” sport. In these letters you’ll find contention over which rules to play under, how much money the school should pay a visiting team, as well as the perceived strength or weaknesses of an opposing team. Also in these letters you’ll find the persistence, shrewdness, and intelligence that served Lutcher Stark well during the 24 years he served on UT’s Board of Regents–12 of them as Chairman—both of which remain records.

 

Flip through this book online

Hackenschmidt Scrapbook

Click the link below to view a digitized version of one of our most important documents—the almost 600-page scrapbook owned for decades by George Hackenschmidt, the World Wrestling Champion during the early part of the 20th century.

Read More

Flip through this book online

The 100-UP Exercise and “Running” chapter in Training for Athletics by W.G. George

A recent article in the New York Times Magazine has spurred renewed interest in W. C. George’s book The 100-Up Exercise. Because Mr. George’s running techniques are fueling some of the discussion surrounding barefoot running and because the book is very difficult to find, the Stark Center is pleased to offer this .pdf version of the book in its entirety. In addition, we are also pleased to make available a related chapter on running training by Mr. George published in Training for Athletics. Researchers wishing to view the originals should contact the Stark Center at info@starkcenter.org

Click here for Training for Athletics “Running” chapter

Click here for 100-UP Exercise

Your Physique – Volume 1

Your Physique was a very influential magazine throughout its publication.

Flip through this book online